Summer weather does not mean warmer, less dangerous waters
As the summer weather continues, the Department of Health reminds residents that while enjoying Washington’s waters can be one of the highlights of the summer, it can also be dangerous. Drowning deaths happen most frequently in the summer months, and almost half of the 100 deaths a year occur in rivers and streams.
Frigid temperatures caused by mountain runoff are a large reason why these waters can be so dangerous. Cold water can affect even strong swimmers’ muscles and nervous system within 10 minutes, overriding strength and endurance.
Fast moving currents can also be treacherous, and logs, branches, and bushes can snag or tip rafts and inner tubes and hold a person under water. In addition to life vests, people in swift creeks or rivers should be wary of where they put their feet. A foot jammed between rocks in a creek with a strong current can push a person underwater.
The highest drowning numbers are among teenage and young adult males. Children should be watched at all times when they’re in or near water, and non-swimmers should always be within arm’s reach. If you decide to go in the water to help, bring something with you to help keep you both afloat.
The best defense against the risks that can happen around water is a life jacket. Taking the proper precautions is the best way to ensure that a fun summer outing doesn’t turn into a tragedy.